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Patong illegal logging camp raided

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Patong illegal logging camp raided | The Thaiger

PATONG: More than 20 forest protection officers yesterday afternoon raided an illegal logging operation high in the hills south of Patong, but the handful of workers caught by surprise at the site all managed to flee the scene.

Panumet Dam-orn, who heads the Phuket-based Forest Protection Unit 2, ordered the raid after aerial surveillance of the area on Wednesday.

The site is located upslope from Meun-ngen Rd, which runs from the south end of Patong Bay to Tritrang Beach.

K. Panumet conducted the raid with about 20 other officers from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Forest Resources Inspection Office 17, located in Krabi.

The group reached the site at about 1 pm after traveling about two kilometers along a winding dirt road, some sections of which were covered with reinforced concrete because of the steep gradient, K. Panumet said.

When they reached the site, the officers found workers – allegedly Burmese – cutting down hardwood trees and processing them into planks one-inch thick, six-inches wide and 13-feet long.

After the workers quickly fled, officers recovered about 140 planks as evidence. K. Panumet estimated the total value of the lumber seized at about 200,000 baht.

Local residents told officials the operation had been going on for many months, allegedly after a Bangkok-based investor hired a team to fell the trees and process them into lumber.

The investigation will try to identify the investor and bring charges against him, K. Panumet said.

Following his aerial survey on Wednesday, he estimated the total area of encroachment on hillside forest land throughout Kathu district at about 100 rai.

Problems in the hills of Patong made headlines in October last year when heavy rains triggered a landslide that undermined the foundations of a holiday home and apartment block off Nanai Rd Soi 9, causing an emergency evacuation.

It was later discovered that work on a real estate project downslope was the likely cause.

In November 2005, a landslide crashed through the wall of a dwelling on Nanai Rd, killing a Thai woman and her child.

A provincial ban on building permanent structures more than 80 meters above sea level was brought into effect in 1994 in order to prevent erosion. However, the ban has been meaningless, with many projects – completed or currently underway – widely visible in the hills surrounding Patong.



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Phuket

Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin | The Thaiger

A Thai man has been shot dead near Saphan Hin in eastern Phuket earlier today. The arrest warrant has already been issued for the suspect.

The Wichit Police were notified of the incident on Rattanakosin 200 pi Road near Saphan Hin at 3.40am this morning.

Police and rescue workers arrived to find the body of 30 year old Teerasak Saeong from Phuket covered with blood and laying on the road. Two bullet wounds were found on his right and left temple.

Seven bullets were also found around Mr Teerasak’s body. Nearby they found a motorbike. His body was taken to Vachira Phuket Hospital for full autopsy and identification.

Witnesses told police that Mr Teerasak was stopped on his motorbike and was talking with the suspect who was in a black car. The suspect shot at Mr Teerasak and sped away.

Mr Teerasak was the son of a member of Rassada’s Municipal Council. At this stage police believe that the two had personal conflicts. Police are now searching for the driver of the vehicle who shot Mr Teerasak.

Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin | News by The Thaiger Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin | News by The Thaiger Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin | News by The Thaiger

 

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Phuket

Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | The Thaiger

A male Danish tourist, driving a motorbike, has died after colliding with a truck in front of a market in Kathu.

The Kathu Police were notified of the incident on Phra Phuket Keaw Road in front of the new outdoor Vintage Market in Kathu at 3am yesterday morning.

Police and Kusoldharm rescue workers arrived at the U-turn to find the truck and driver waiting. The driver of the truck was 36 year old Sontaya Suchata waiting in the middle of the U-turn area.

Nearby they found a damaged Honda PCX and 51 year old Claus Pathuel Jensen, a Danish national from Glostrup. He was found unconscious under the truck. He was rushed to Vachira Phuket Hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Police report that the truck was going to take a U-turn outside the market area. The truck driver says he was unaware that Mr Jensen was coming from behind in the right lane. The motorbike was unable to avoid the collision with the truck and Mr Jensen PCX ploughed into the rear of the vehicle.

Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | News by The Thaiger Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | News by The Thaiger Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | News by The Thaiger Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | News by The Thaiger

 

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Phuket

Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Facebook/Claire Johnson

An Australian woman, who was caught overstaying her visa by 111 days, will be released from detention and deported by Thai authorities tonight.

She came to the media’s attention on Monday after sending urgent messages to a friend saying that she was being taken to a detention centre and that “they are taking my phone”.

46 year old Claire Amelia Johnson is an Australian Gold Coast resident. She will depart Bangkok on a QANTAS flight scheduled to arrive in Sydney tomorrow (Friday) morning.

She was due to return to Australia more than a week ago but on Monday evening sent messages to her friend Juliet Potter and told her that she was in an immigration detention centre in Bangkok and begged her to please “help me”.

Read The Thaiger story about her desperate pleas HERE.

Ms Johnson had been running a medical tourism business called Cosmetic Holidays International that offered cosmetic packages in Phuket”.

The business was voluntarily deregistered with the Australian Securities Commission in May 2017, after five years of operation, but her social media accounts continued to promote her cosmetic-surgery tourism business.

Thailand’s immigration chief, Surachate Hakparn, told Australia’s Fairfax media that Ms Johnson had been arrested, as well as fined, and would be deported after overstaying her tourist visa by more than 100 days.

“My Immigration Department will send her to Australia. She leaves tonight.”

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade would say only that it was “providing consular assistance to an Australian woman detained in Thailand”, without naming Claire.

Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days | News by The Thaiger

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